Club History

The McKinnon Bowls Club was founded on 17th March 1950 at a meeting of interested parties held at the McKinnon Public Hall. The meeting was attended by 70 persons and convened by Cr. L.R. (Les) Coates. A provisional committee was formed with Cr. Coates as President and Mr. M.J. (Michael) Hassed as Secretary. This committee was to investigate matters, such as club name, the club financial set up and rules and, especially, a likely site. After much consultation with the Moorabbin City council and the Greens Committee of the RVBA the present site at Joyce Park was chosen.
In Moorabbin Council Chambers on 3rd April 1950, Sec. Hassed led a delegation presenting a strong case for the formation of a lawn bowls club. The council unanimously approved the plan. After much discussion between club representatives and council a lease was arranged for Joyce Park. With certain projects, the council agreed to share the cost and agreed to carry the cost of some other projects until the club was in a financial position to repay them.
With much energy and enthusiasm the McKinnon Bowls Club was able to celebrate its first Opening Day on the 19th November 1951. The foundation membership was 150 Men and 40 Ladies. The joining fee was £1 with an annual subscription of £5 for men with £1 and £1-2-0, respectively, for ladies. Much was done in the early days; Sunday bowls and indoor bowls were approved by the Moorabbin City Council for playing between 1.30pm and 6pm to comply with the council bylaws covering sport on a Sunday.
It was decided to install electric lighting for night bowls entailing purchasing eight steel rails from the Victorian Railways and contracting the SEC to dig the holes for the steel rails.
The building of a new brick clubhouse was projected and became possible through President Charles Stevens arranging a loan of £4,500 from the ES&A Bank, on the security of 12 members backing the loan to meet the end contract price of £6,395.
The new clubhouse was officially opened on 15th September 1956.

In 1962, an amenities block was erected to better the facilities for the lady members at a cost of £4,719. 1963 brought approval from the members to construct a new bowling green, shelters, buy furnishings and establish the car park. In 1966, the Waller (No.2) green was reconstructed and was accepted by the RVBA as the best green in the metropolitan area and was much sought after as a venue for elite bowls. A liquor licence was granted in 1969 enabling a steady stream of revenue, leading to a consolidation of the membership and adding to the feeling of permanency for the club and its members. There were now 235 full male members, 40 associate male members and 145 ladies, with a grand total of 420.

In 1972, a new complex was provided for the lady members at the western end of the building and proved an outstanding extension. Also enlarged was the main hall to accommodate the increased membership. In 1975, ladies membership increased to 175 members. Six brick shelters were built in 1978 and added to green surrounds and shade requirements. 12th May 1978 saw the introduction of Friday Night Bingo, which continues to this day and has provided funding for numerous projects over the years.
McKinnon hosted the Scottish team during their visit for the1980 World Bowls Championships and the clubs status was further illustrated when McKinnon was named stand-by club for the Championships.

In 1983, extensive alterations were made to the lounge area at the eastern end of the building. In 1985, the bar and storage area were updated. In 1986, the brick soil shed and toilet located at the eastern boundary of the property was constructed. 1989 saw the last major works for the club with the demolition of the original wooden clubhouse and the building of a new brick machinery shed, storeroom, kitchen and BBQ area, further enhancing the club’s facilities.

This period saw the first signs of a decline. Demographic changes in the McKinnon area were making it increasingly harder to attract new bowlers and after a relatively successful history, both on and off the green, times were getting tougher. By the end of the decade the Premier Div. team had been relegated and membership was declining.
Late 1997 saw the first addressing of the existing and future problems that the club faced. After much angst and soul searching, the committee was charged with the task of seeking a suitable candidate for a merger. Nearby Glen Eira Bowls Club was foreseen as the club to merge with and two attempts later saw the members of both clubs vote in favour of amalgamation.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in June 2002 confirming the birth of the Glen Eira-McKinnon Bowls Club Inc. located at Joyce Park, Ormond, within the City of Glen Eira. Negotiations were enhanced by the goodwill expressed on both sides. The new entity is once again in Premier Div. and has attracted a number of new members in the four years of its existence.